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Series Preview : Diamondbacks vs Rockies

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The D-Backs try to break their 6 game losing streak when they play the Rockies for the final time this year.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks (58-84) vs Colorado Rockies (69-74)

The D-Backs are back to their old ways after a brief .500 baseball stretch, on a 6 game losing streak. They were outscored 17-41 in the stretch, and I’d say this screenshot I took during Saturday’s game summarizes the week, or the entire season, pretty well:

State of the Rockies

The Rockies are exceeding expectations a bit, despite being 5 games below .500. They are scoring 5.31 runs per game, 2nd in the NL, but their offensive numbers will always be inflated due to playing in Coors Field. A more accurate representation of their offense is OPS+, which takes park factors into account. Their team OPS+ is 95, a little bit below league average, so the high run total is due to the Coors Field effect more than anything. The pitching staff has been slightly better than average when park factors are taken into account, with an ERA+ of 104. The offense is led by Nolan Arenado (37 homers) and D.J. LeMahieu (.342 batting average, 2nd in NL). Trevor Story, whom you’ll recall destroying the D-Backs the first week of the season, continued his solid rookie year, but is out after having thumb surgery. Familiar face Gerardo Parra has been awful, with a 66 OPS+. The names of everyone else in the Rockies lineup should be familiar to you at this point in the season, and they all sit around the league average mark.

Good News
  • Chris Owings has been hot for a while, with a .314 batting average in his last 27 games. Jean Segura also has an average above .300 in that time span, with a bit more power too.
  • The D-Backs offense has been very successful against the Rockies this year, scoring at least 5 runs in each game against Colorado.
  • Charlie Blackmon is on a bit of a cold streak, good news since he always seems to do a lot of damage to the D-Backs.
Bad News
  • After a great start to the first half, Yasmany Tomas has cooled off significantly with a triple slash of .217/.273/.489 over the last 30 days.
  • The other side of that whole offensive success of the D-Backs is their pitching: they’ve allowed 7.44 runs per game to the Rockies this year.
Injury Report

A.J. Pollock recently went down with a groin injury, and while the team makes it sound like he could come back toward the end of the year, I’d be surprised if they risk playing him again. In the same game, Chris Hermann broke his wrist on a steal attempt, and is out for the season. Reliever Andrew Chafin is set to come back any time now.

Outfielders Gerardo Parra and Ryan Raburn missed a couple games last week with a hamstring and foot injury, respectively, but should be fine to play this series. We will not see star shortstop Trevor Story, out for the year after having thumb surgery.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1: Shelby Miller RHP (2-11, 6.89 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) vs Tyler Anderson LHP (5-5, 3.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Here’s my hot take on Shelby Miller from last week:

Throw everything that occurred in the first part of Shelby’s season out. His horrible 2016 was a fluke, and September will show the pitcher Miller actually is. He made his first MLB start in about 2 months last Wednesday, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings. That outing against the Giants reflects the type of performance we’ll see the rest of the season from Shelby.

He promptly went out and gave up 5 runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings, proving what a genius I am.

The Rockies will be happy to have Tyler Anderson around for the next few years. An ERA below 3 and a half is always makes a good first impression, and his 7.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 shows that his performance is sustainable. Anderson features a very effective low 90’s fastball, a cutter, and a change-up. Interesting nugget about Anderson: at Coors Field, he has an ERA of 3.04. One would think his road ERA would be much better, but no, it is up at 4.21. Advantage to the Rockies on Monday.

Game 2: Robbie Ray LHP (7-13, 4.46 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) vs Jorge De La Rosa LHP (8-7, 5.00 ERA, 1.57 WHIP)

Ray went 6 innings with 3 runs allowed in his last outing, and hey look, 12 strikeouts to go along with it. His 11.3 K/9 is second best among qualifying pitchers, behind only Jose Fernandez. Be sure you tune in to watch Ray pitch.

De La Rosa’s career is on the downswing, with his worst full season as a Rockie (Rocky?) yet. It appears that the Coors Field effect is finally getting to him, with his worst HR/9 since 2008. His style is very unique from others, a mix of a whole lot of off-speed stuff. In 3 starts against the D-Backs this season, 2 were awful, and one was great. The D-Backs should have a solid game on offense, advantage D-Backs.

Game 3: Rubby De La Rosa RHP (4-5, 4.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) vs Jeff Hoffman RHP (0-3, 5.60 ERA, 1.81 WHIP)

Rubby made his first start since returning from the DL last Friday, but it’s difficult to take anything away from the 2 inning outing. His fastball velocity was up at his usual mid to high 90’s range, so he appears to have healed from his earlier elbow injury. Hopefully he is able to pick up where he left off before the injury, and head into 2017 looking strong.

Hoffman was the 9th pick of the 2014 draft, and in his limited time in the majors has not lived up to that first round pedigree. He was the main guy traded to the Rockies in the Tulowitzki trade. In 4 starts this year, he has walked more batters than he struck out, and also has allowed at least one homer every game. Expect to see a lot of this guy in the next few years, a guy with talent like him will probably figure it out eventually. Slight advantage D-Backs.

Key to the Series

Can the Rockies hit away from home? This has always been a big question with Colorado. While it has been better this year, they still struggle on the road.

Prediction

The D-Backs get lit up by the Rockies offense, and are only able to win 1 of 3.